I believe that many beginner photographers like to shoot night scenes, but they often find that the results are aren’t adequate. In fact, as long as you master these tricks, you can easily take high-level night photos!
Tip 1: Bring Your Own Tripod
Night scenes usually take a long time to exposure, so the camera must remain hidden to take sharp pictures. To avoid damaging the effect of the photo due to vibration, it is best to use a tripod to reduce shake.
Tip 2: Lower the Sensitivity (ISO)
I believe everyone knows that high sensitivity can achieve faster shutter speeds at the same aperture value to reduce the problem of shake when shooting, but then it will cause a some noise in the photo. Especially when shooting night scenes, long-term exposure will make noise in the photo darker, so if the environment permits, you should use a tripod and lower the ISO value to obtain the best shooting results.
Tip 3: Use a Large Aperture Lens for Framing
When we attach the lens to the body, the lens’ aperture will automatically open to the maximum. In a dark environment, a larger aperture allows more light to enter the lens, making the picture on the viewfinder clearer. For example, two photographers are shooting night scenes at the same time and location. A lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and another lens with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 will have a significantly brighter viewfinder on the photographer’s viewfinder with f/2.8. The photographer will be able to see clear details.
Tip 4: Shoot with a Small Aperture
It may seem a bit contradictory. I just said that I would use a large aperture lens. So why use a small aperture? The reason is very simple. The purpose of using a large aperture lens is to make it easier for photographers to see more clearly when framing. However, the reason why the aperture is reduced when shooting is because of the following two reasons:
1. A small aperture can make the depth of field larger, so that the scene will not be blurred by the effect of shallow depth of field.
2. If there is light at night, shooting with a small aperture can turn the light into a star shape, and the effect is more prominent.
Tip 5: Long Exposure
One of the common techniques for shooting night scenes is long exposures (slow shutter speeds as slow as 10 seconds, 30 seconds, or hours), which can be used to shoot car tracks, star tracks, waves, etc. Long exposure can not only make the waves smooth or record the trajectory of the car’s taillights, but also make light that is usually invisible to the naked eye appear, the effect is absolutely fascinating!
Tip 6: Set The White Balance
It is not recommended to use automatic white balance when shooting night scenes, because in a dark environment, the automatic white balance become inconsistent, resulting in chromatic aberration in photos. When shooting night scenes, you can use the white balance of the “Tungsten” mode, but of course you have to choose the most suitable mode according to the environment. In addition, saving photos in RAW format allows photographers to adjust the white balance as needed afterwards, which is more convenient.
Tip 7: Beware of Overexposure
If you use the auto exposure (ie. Auto/P/Av/Tv/S/A) mode at night, it may easily cause over exposure. This happens because the camera can be overwhelmed by a wide range of dark environments and overexpose the photos. Therefore, when shooting night scenes, we can use the full manual mode (M mode) or use the B shutter (the shutter is open until the photographer closes it), so that you can set the appropriate shutter and aperture yourself, of course, to find the appropriate aperture The shutter combination requires experience, and beginners can take a few more photos to see the effect. If you want to know if the photo is overexposed, you can observe whether the light spots in the photo are clear. In other words, the points of light captured under normal exposure, such as the most common lights, look very clear and distinct. Conversely, if the photo is overexposed, the light spots will feel “blown out” and the lines will be less clear.
The picture above shows the effect of normal exposure. It can be clearly seen that the light spots and lines are real, and there is no effect of “dissolving”.
The above are the most basic techniques for shooting night scenes. As long as you practice, you can also take high-quality night scene photos and become a “night shooter”!
Author: Michael Leung